Anorak | A nuclear bomb is not a dirty bomb

A nuclear bomb is not a dirty bomb

by | 1st, November 2012

I’M not sure here whether it’s the Mail getting things mixed up or whether we’ve actually got a government minister getting mixed up. The likelihood of either is so high that who is able to tell ?

A dirty bomb attack is a ‘real threat’ faced by Britain, the Foreign Office will warn today. The government claims nuclear terrorism is still one of the biggest threats to global peace. Minister Alistair Burt will use a speech to warn of the dangers posed by a rise nuclear weapons being smuggled around the world.

The point being that there’s a huge difference between a nuclear bomb and a dirty bomb.

A nuclear bomb is when you get a fission (or fusion) reaction. The uranium, plutonium, (or in fusion, the hydrogen) converts into another element. And according to that good old E equals MC squared there’s a vast amount of energy coming out of it. Plus all sorts of nasty particles and radioactive isotopes. This would be very bad.

A dirty bomb is something else entirely. It’s a normal explosion. You could do it with fertiliser and derv, as the IRA used to. Or any other explosive that you can find. Then add something radioactive. Say, cobalt 60 (a radioactive isotope of cobalt) from a cancer treatment or food irradiation machine. Or americium from a fire alarm. Someone actually plotted to do that second one not realising the next thing I’m about to tell you. This would not be a very bad thing. In fact, we’d pretty much not notice the radioactive part of it. Oh, there’d be a few numpties who panicked for sure, but the actual effect of a dirty bomb going off would be, over and above the bang, around and about zero.

Because radiation is really only a problem if it is concentrated. And the whole point of putting

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Posted: 1st, November 2012 | In: Money, News Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink